It may come as a surprise to most women, but single men are now more likely to want to settle down and start a family, the most comprehensive study of its kind has revealed.
In a dramatic gender role reversal, more than half of single men wanted to have children compared to just 46% of women.
Men are now also just as likely to want to get married as women and more likely to fall in love at first sight.
Experts said that the results were evidence of ‘gender blurring’ in which women have become more like men and men have taken on the characteristics usually associated with women.
They also suggest that the age of the ‘New Man’ in which blokish types embrace their sensitive and caring side has had a profound effect.
Women, on the other hand, seem hell bent on enjoying the freedom to live their life as they want without obligations or commitments.
The study of 5,200 people found that while more than half of single men aged 21 to 35 wanted kids, only 46% of the women did.
With age the difference becomes even more pronounced – only 16% of childless women aged 35 to 44 wanted kids whereas 27% of the men did.
Across every age group, women want more independence than men in their relationships, the results showed.
Some 77% of women said having their personal space is very important compared to 58% for men.
On top of that 78% of women say the same about having their own interests and hobbies versus 64% for men, and 35% of women say regular nights out with friends are important, compared to 23% of men.
More women than men were prepared to say definitively that they did not want to become parents, the study showed.
Kathleen Gerson, a sociology professor at New York University, who was not involved in the study, said: ‘Men do feel more empowered to acknowledge their desires for commitment and their desires for connection.
‘Men and women are looking for similar assets and are not judging a potential partner on the basis of gender-related traits – that a woman is looking for a paycheck object or a man is looking for a sex object.
‘They’re both looking for the whole package, more so than in the past.’ The research also highlighted changing social attitudes amongst single people to the extent that a person’s background now plays little role in choosing a potential mate.
Some 80% of men compared to 71% of women said they don’t care about the race of a love interest.
When it came to religious beliefs 83% of men said it did not matter versus 63% of women.
Men also appear to be the more romantic of the two sexes with 54% saying they had experienced love at first sight, compared with 44% of women.
Sherri Langburt founder of singles lifestyle website SingleEdition.com, said: ‘Men are writing us more about the emotional relationships than women.
‘Women are writing us about the one-night stands. Women are asking if it’s OK – ‘Can I have a one-night stand?’
‘Men are writing, ‘I’m single and I’m lonely and want to find love and can’t admit it to anyone’.’
The study of Americans aged 21 to 65 was undertaken by dating website Match.com and Rutgers University in New Jersey.
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